Thirty-six years after construction, I decided it was time to Roof Restoration of my home. It is a gable roof, with the summit facing west / east, with part of the roof facing north and the other part, of course, south.
It is a roof with a very steep slope and the north-facing part suffers much more from the inclement weather than the southern part. In winter, negative temperatures are very frequent, frosts too and the sun at that time of year hardly affects the tiles.
Because of this, this part of the roof was badly damaged, showing many chipped tiles, that is, tiles from which pieces had been released, most likely because of the ice. It is true that the quality of the material would not be the best either, but the main cause of the tiles’ degradation was the ice, since the south-facing part did not present this type of problem.
Initially I thought about replacing the clay tiles with sandwich panels, those panels that try to do the Portuguese tile imitation, but after pondering well I decided not to do it,
But the appearance of the sandwich panel roofs didn’t really convince me either. An imitation is always an imitation and the roofs built with real tile have another aspect, not to mention that in certain regions this type of coverage is not allowed, or is very badly seen by the local authorities.
It is true that the sandwich roof has the advantage of already having thermal insulation and, in the case of old roofs like mine, whose structure is made with wooden framework and without insulation, the paneling is quite tempting, but the price ended up speak louder and be the main reason for my resistance to this temptation.
But there was another important reason … I always did all the construction work on my house from the beginning and I want, as long as I can, to continue doing it. I would not be able to apply these panels without help. I would have to pay someone to install it, which, in addition to the high cost of that work, would deprive me of the pleasure of doing the work myself and saving some money.
So, I decided to get down to work and do the Roof Restoration by applying new tiles on the ridge and also on the most damaged part of the roof and, on the other part, replacing only those that were in worse condition, doing a wash on the rest.
This was not a mere replacement of tiles. The roof frame was bent with the weight of the tiles and it was necessary to raise and put the slat so that the support was level. The bars were made of non-sawn eucalyptus and had been applied in green and bark.
There were two errors in the initial construction, more the fact that they were placed with bark than being green, as the bark creates a shelter for the wood bug and this is an evil that must be avoided at all costs. If they were already dry, they might not bend as much, but this could have been avoided with better shoring.
In any case, the joists were still in good condition and capable of holding even longer than the new tiles that were going to be applied. At the time of the construction of the house, there had been no time to peel the eucalyptus, but now I took the opportunity to do the best I could, although it was not an easy job with the slats already nailed.
Since I was correcting some mistakes of the past and doing what I considered a good Roof Restoration, I painted the joists and battens with burnt oil to protect the wood, a protective material that is free of charge, but with proven evidence that it has some efficiency.
Also, following the logic of correcting some errors, I placed an anchor in each beam, in a part where the gap was a little bigger and where the bars were more bent, although I believe that now it would not be very necessary, because the bars they probably wouldn’t bend more than they already were. Anyway after all the work I had with this Roof Restoration I decided to play it safe…
As I said, I decided to apply new tiles only to one part of the roof, washing the other part. In that part I replaced only a few tiles, thinking that I could make a correction to the framework under the roof, without removing the tiles, thus saving money and labor.
At the end of the roof restoration
That is what I did, but I was not late in verifying that I made one more mistake (after all, we make mistakes at any age) by not replacing all the tiles. At the end of the roof restoration, I came to the conclusion that it is not worth washing tiles with more than a dozen years of use.
With a little more work, you would have a completely new roof and, as you didn’t pay for labor, the costs would be little more, given that to do the washing you need to buy cleaning products, which are not cheap, spend water and electricity,
To finish the job I applied water repellent on the entire roof, using a sprayer normally used in agriculture. This product has the ability to prevent the tiles from absorbing rain water and should delay the appearance of verdigris and blackness caused by humidity, and it is also assumed that the tiles have a longer duration.
However, the application of this product is not consensual and there are those who advocate that its use is harmful because, even with the water repellent, the tiles absorb some water and the product prevents the tiles from breathing from the top, causing damage and premature aging from the roof.
I don’t know if this last thesis has any reason to be. It may be, but the fact is that I have already verified that the tiles were completely waterproof, which makes it seem a little unrealistic the idea that the tiles do not breathe, since the water repellent was only applied on the top of the tiles and even if some moisture penetrates inside, they are underneath completely obscured and with great space to breathe.
However, it is to be considered that the applied water repellent should not be eternal, and that it may start to lose effectiveness in the short or medium term, ignoring for the time being the consequences that the loss of effectiveness may cause. Therefore, its use may not be very advisable, taking into account its high price and the uncertainty regarding the temporal duration of its benefits.